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Pastoral Message – June 5, 2022

Pastoral Message – June 5, 2022

Hey Y’all,

As Catholic Christians we’re celebrating Pentecost this weekend! Alleluia!

Thinking of Pentecost, you might remember that original event described in the 2nd Chapter of Acts of the Apostles, when the Holy Spirit came down like tongues of fire on the folks assembled in Jerusalem. Here’s a little context to Acts 2.

Pentecost a couple thousand years ago was a Jewish harvest feast that was mandated by Torah. Pentecost is also known by the Hebrew name, Shavuot, and it’s also known as the Feast of Weeks. It was one of the three feasts (Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot) that required able-bodied Jews to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Those three שלוש רגלים, or Shalosh Regalim – (literally translated as “three feet” or “three legs”) – meant that practicing Jewish folks from all over the world would hoof it to Jerusalem. Thus lots of folks of one broad faith would be there even though they spoke lots of different native languages.

The feast of Shavuot is 50 days after one of the other pilgrimage feasts, Pesach. (Remember Jesus’ Last Supper was celebrating Pesach which is also known as Passover.) Shavuot is a feast that celebrates first-fruits, harvest and Torah. Different Jewish traditions have their own particular ways of celebrating this feast, with liturgies, the reading of the book of Ruth, decorating with wheat and greenery, eating dairy products (cheesecake, cheese blintzes and the like) and reading Torah throughout the night.

Now what I’ve described is an outsider’s mixed up amalgamation of what was ancient and is current practice amongst our Jewish friends. So now allow me to “baptize” some of our ancestral roots, putting them into a current Christian stream of thought.

In a Christian context, Pentecost is a still celebration of newness, first fruits and harvest. This newness and harvest is the fruit of our lives lived in and through the animating, sanctifying, and worshipping Spirit of God. The Spirit of God, both ancient and new, renews both the world and the Church. And as individual Christians, we’re enlivened and encouraged, inviting the Holy Spirit to be with us, recognizing the animating movement of God. How cool is that!

The Holy Spirit, falling down at today’s Pentecost, brings to us a newness that is real through faith and hope. Faith and hope in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the ensuing presence of the Church. The Spirit of God renews us in merciful grace daily, and then also with every Act of Contrition and absolution.
Being renewed in the Spirit we should offer our first fruits of every day. Every time we forgive, love, serve, witness, and show empathy, kindness and mercy we are offering the best of ourselves – our first fruit as Christians. And then if we go out into our world as witnesses to our Christian faith, we are part of God’s harvest. We are “bringing in the sheaves” of a human harvest that become our sisters and brothers united in the Spirit of God. We are encouraged to use the language of the Spirit of God to speak words of hope, and grace and salvation to those in need.

So put this feast of Pentecost and the gift of the Holy Spirit into the context of your daily lives. To help you do so, you might offer up this golden oldie of a prayer…

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.

O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

God bless you!
Fr. Reynold

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